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When Ava was five months old, I was thinking that all my pictures of her toothless gums were going to be the last pictures.  Unfortunately, tooth watch 2014 is going to progress into tooth watch 2015.  She’s still toothless.

Ava says: “Put a bird on it!”

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Independence/Motor Skills

  • As you can see in the picture above, Ava is getting much better at sitting up straight.  When you put her against the couch, she can stay leaning against it.  Last month she would slide sideways.
  • She can also stand for a few seconds while leaning on an object.
  • Ava is really good at rolling and she started scooting.  She officially crawled this month, although she will only do it for a few seconds.  Then she gets annoyed, rolls over, and scoots because it’s more effective.

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Foods and Liquids

  • I’ll give anything to Ava it’s pureed enough.  At church she went crazy for tzitziki sauce.  At a friend’s house she tried some spicy lentils.  Last night she enjoyed our ginger, carrot, parsnip soup, although she didn’t like the rice added to the soup.  The texture was too much for her.  She also enjoyed scrambled eggs with enchilada sauce.  A yogurt lemon topping for our salmon was also popular.  For purees, I tried carrots and fava beans, which were a little dry but work fine with yogurt.  Avocado, peas, and spinach are good together.  Blueberries added to yogurt are a hit, but it makes the biggest mess.  Next I’m going to try some recipes from this blog, including a kale, strawberry, and yogurt smoothie.
  • Ava can pick up teething biscuits and eat them.  She doesn’t use a pincer grip yet, but I’m sure that will soon come.  Then I can be trendy and practice baby led weaning!
  • Since Ava is getting better at grabbing things with her hands, I bought her a sippy cup (surprise, it’s made by OXO).  I added diluted apple juice to it, which she loved.  But Ava doesn’t know how to suck the liquid from the cup, so she got really made that she couldn’t drink from the cup because she knew it contained delicious apple juice.
  • Ava is back to eating large amounts of food and liquids.  She must be eating a greater percentage of solids because her diapers are starting to smell intense.

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Sleep

  • I haven’t reinstituted the cry it out method for the same reasons as last month.  Also, Ava has had some teething issues and her first cold, and I wasn’t going to make her cry when she felt so poorly.
  • But she’s great at going to bed sleepy but awake.  At first I was worried when I put her in her crib awake, but 95% of the time she goes to bed without a sound.  The other 5% she might make a short objection, but I haven’t had to go in and comfort her a single time.  Nap time, however, is another situation.  Ava seems to be giving up on her third nap so I’ve let her cry for 10 or 15 minutes before to see if she would fall asleep.  Her nanny tells me that for the other naps, V. has left Ava in her crib playing with toys and after a few minutes Ava decided to take her nap.
  • Last night Ava woke up at 11 pm and 4:00 am, which would have been amazing except my body forced me awake at 2 am with the need to pee.  I felt so betrayed.

Noises

  • Ava has learned to make consonant sounds!  She says “ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba” and sometimes she adds d’s into the mix.
  • I answer with “ma-ma-ma-ma-ma” but it’s not catching on yet.

New House II

The house is coming along.  I haven’t finished organizing the kitchen, but it’s good enough to be photographed.  Here’s the view of the large cabinets and the sink.  There’s a lot more space in this house and I’ve been able to bring out some of my old plates.  I love it.  I can arrange sushi on sushi plates, I have plates that can be microwaved.  Don’t the birds look great above the window?

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I love having a pot rack.  It’s so much easier to grab pots from overhead than rifle around in the cabinets.  I’m also pleased with the cute spice rack above the microwave.  They recently opened a Container Store in Draper, and we bought a bunch of organizational things including the spice rack.

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I think OXO should start sponsoring me because in addition to buying and telling you about a bucket bib, and four dozen containers for baby food, I’m going to rave about their drawer organizers.  I bought two of them for two different sized drawers.  They slide out to fit different widths and the dividers can be moved around.  Here’s the wide drawer.

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Before I organized the drawer, the second drawer was so filled with battery packages that I couldn’t even close it.  Now look!

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Jon bought a rug for the living room that looks amazing with the multicolor theme.  It matches the front door and placemats perfectly.  (Without the rug.)

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Happy Thanksgiving

Hello!  How was your Thanksgiving?  Since Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, I’d like to give thanks to Ava.  She gives me such joy.

 

On Thanksgiving we went to a friend’s house who hosted a massive Thanksgiving for a group of people.  There were so many wonderful friends there, including one who hadn’t met Ava yet.  I was so happy they met each other.

 

The invitation for Thanksgiving came after I had already made reservations for food to make a Thanksgiving at home.  As a result, we ate a separate Thanksgiving feast at home the day after Thanksgiving.  Since we don’t eat meat, I made lightly-seared tuna.  It was Thanksgiving tuna because the garnish on top of the tuna included cranberries.  We also had oysters.  I’m also thankful for having a kitchen large enough that I can use my sushi plates.

Thanksgiving

 

Jon and I worked the day after Thanksgiving, but we went to the movie theater in the middle of the day.  I saw a movie with no interruptions for the first time since Ava was born.  It was fantastic!  The movie is Birdman and it has very little to do with birds.

 

Ava is working on her rolling and scooting.  She has been mimicking the movement of the army crawl.  It’s hard to predict how long these developmental stages will take, but I think she might start crawling in the next month.  Ava isn’t the biggest fan of having weight on her feet, though, so it might be longer before she can stand assisted.

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Ava has had several false starts with her teeth.  Did you know that baby teeth can move up and then recede?  I’m hoping they’re finally coming through.  Although teething causes her pain, I look forward to giving her a greater variety of food.

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Ava is still obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt.  This weekend Ava laughed and laughed while interacting with Teddy.  She would reach for him and every time she was able to touch his face she would laugh.  I supervised the game because Ava has a very strong grip and she could hurt Teddy.  She also gummed on his back, leaving a hilarious wet spot in his fur.  You can see in the picture that he’s wise to the fact that Ava should be treated with some caution.  When we played the game he walked over to us and after some grabbing he would walk away until I called him back.  I’m sure he’ll enjoy the game a lot more once she starts giving him food.

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Milestones

Ava has been doing a lot of new things lately.  She’s making leaps in her cognitive abilities and motor skills.  For example, Ava has become very attached to this glowworm.  She’s a little teary in the picture because she cries if you don’t immediately go to her after her nap.

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When Ava is being fed and she’s tired, she rubs her eyes, grabs the top of her head, and slides her hand down her face.  Since her hand is usually filled with food, she transfers the food to her head.  I like to think of it as Ava creating a moisturizing avocado mask for herself.

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This part is mostly for me to remember, but if anyone is curious feel free to read.  I’ve been giving Ava small bits of our food.  She loves tzitziki sauce.  She’s also eaten small bits of scrambled eggs, salmon, and soup.  I need to wait on giving her soup again because she’s not good at slurping.  Today I made a blueberry puree and she loved it so much she burst into tears when I didn’t give it to her fast enough.  I also made a carrot and fava bean puree, which she liked.  The carrot and zucchini puree was too runny.  The blueberries can be added to her yogurt because she’s getting bored with eating yogurt.  She was willing to eat yogurt with hummus, but we think the hummus might be causing her to poop too much.

 

Ava is such a happy baby.  She smiles when she sees the three people in her inner circle: me, Jon, and her nanny.

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She’s starting to develop a fear of strangers (or people she only sees about once a month).  We took her to a celebration for the birth of Baha’u'llah a few weeks ago and she cried when anyone but Jon and I tried to hold her.  She broke a lot of hearts that day because before that, she would let anyone hold and cuddle her.

Ava is very tough.  She’s been pounding her arms and legs.  She’s especially active when I’m nursing her to sleep.  I have to pin her arm down or she’ll hit her head.  Some of the literature says it’s a soothing ritual.  A few weeks ago she would also pull her hair, but she seems to have stopped doing that.  I’m so glad that was a short phase because her hair is really starting to grow and soon she’ll have more than a few stray hairs to grab.  I’m wondering if the pounding is related to Ava’s new ability to move backwards when she’s laying on her back.

Ava has been doing a lip smacking thing that is very cute.  She sucks her lips in over her gums and smacks her lips together about four times.  She’s also continuing to experiment with her tongue.  Sometimes she won’t let us feed her in the morning because her tongue is blocking the way.

Utah is starting to get very cold so I’ve been putting Ava in two onsies.  The conventional way is to have a short-sleeve shirt first and then a long-sleeve shirt.  I prefer the reverse way because it means I only have to take off the top layer and then put pajamas on Ava for bed.  Plus, she looks like a cool hipster this way.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love stripes?

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I’ve always hoped that Ava and Teddy Roosevelt would become friends.  I grew up with birds, and while they helped me develop an understanding that animals should be treated kindly, I think dogs are better for this purpose because kids can interact with them at an earlier age.  Birds are very fragile and I wouldn’t let Ava play with the cockatiels unsupervised until she’s at least six.

 

She’s wearing a Boston Terrier onsie in the picture below.  It’s hard to make out because the onsie is so huge.  Ava is almost fitting 6-12 month onsies from the Gap perfectly, so I’m buying her clothing for one year olds these days.

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I think they’re finally developing a relationship.  Not only does Ava recognize Teddy, she reaches out to grab him.  Teddy is a great help when I’m cooking because Ava will stare at him in the kitchen while I cook instead of crying for me to hold her.

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When I feed Ava in the high chair, Teddy is always skulking about, hoping that she’ll drop some food.  I think he needs to wait a few more months for when she actively throws the food off her plate.  But in the meantime, Teddy provides a nice distraction.  I haven’t been able to get a good picture of the two of them looking at each other because they’re both too aware of the camera.

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Ava Is Six Months Old

Can you believe that Ava is already six months old?  It both feels like she was just born and that she’s always been with us.  I liked the headers that I used last month, so I’ll continue with that format.

 

Independence/Motor Skills

  • Ava can sit unassisted.  She’s completely slumped over, but it’s a huge leap from having to be held while sitting.

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  • She can also use both hands to play with toys.
  • Ava’s grip is amazing.  She’s really good at yanking on hair.  She loves to pull Jon closer to her in the morning by grabbing his beard.  I have to remember to keep my hair pulled back or else she’ll try to pull it out.
  • If Teddy is nearby, Ava will reach for him.  Sometimes he licks her hand in response.
  • Ava developed a strong preference for different toys this month.  For a few days, she only wanted her octopus, I think because it felt good to chew on the cloth tentacles.  During the weekend she only wanted her firefly.

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  • Ava’s legs are getting stronger.  I expect that in the next couple months she’ll be able to stand with assistance.

Foods and Liquids

  • This month we added bananas, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, hummus, and teething biscuits to Ava’s diet.  Sweet potatoes were a huge hit.  Hummus was the only failure and I think it’s because I added too much garlic.  I also discovered that a baby can have horrible breath if she eats garlic.
  • Lately Ava’s intake of food has decreased.  I would be more concerned, but at her six-month checkup she was 17 pounds 13 ounces, which is 86% for weight.  The first time they measured her length, they said it was 26 inches, which is 65%.  I figured the measurement must be wrong because it would mean she only grew o.75 inches in two months.  They remeasured her and she was 26.5 inches.  Since she’s getting enough food to grow, I won’t try to force her to eat more.

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Sleep

  • Ava wakes up a minimum of three times during the night.  Her basic routine is to start sleeping by 8 pm, then she wakes up at 12 am, 2 am, and 4:30 am.  I usually bring her back in the bed after that.  She roots around to nurse a few times until 8 am, but it doesn’t really qualify as waking up.  She will frequently also wake up around 9:30 pm and 3:30 am.
  • I need to get tougher about letting her cry it out so I can eliminate that 2 am feeding.  I’m trying to stay strong, but for a few days I was so tired I didn’t wake up enough to know that I was supposed to let her cry it out until she’d been nursing for 10 minutes.  Her vaccinations also caused her sleeping schedule to break down.  In addition, I have to check on her each time she cries because she’s often gotten her feet or arms wedged in the slats of the crib.  The other morning she was on her stomach with both legs stuck in the slats of the crib.

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Noises

  • The pipes on this girl!  There were several days where she was yelling to test her voice.  I called Ava my little banshee.
  • Along with sleep training, Ava has learned to scream like a victim in a horror movie.  Last week she was awake when she should be sleeping and I wouldn’t let her nurse to sleep.  To show her disapproval, she screamed and screamed.  And then two minutes later she feel asleep.  Screaming is exhausting!

 

Picture for a Canvas

Help me out!  I want to get a canvas print of Ava’s current state for hanging on my wall at work.  Currently, I have a collage of pictures from a few days after she was born and it looks nothing like Ava anymore.

 

I have a general idea of what I want the picture to look like.  I want it to be Ava on the bed looking up at the camera.  But I’m not sure which of these is the best image.  Also, the bedroom was painted from yellow to blue last week and I think I prefer the blue.

 

1) I like everything about this picture except her collar droops down a little too much.  Also she’s not perfectly centered with the headboard.

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2) I don’t like the yellow background and her hair is a little too oily, but her head is so perfectly centered!

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3) Her head isn’t even remotely centered, but the expression is quintessential Ava.

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4) So, so drooly.  But, so, so cute.  Jon calls this one “The Combover.”

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5) I couldn’t get her to smile, but I love that puffy cheek thing she’s doing! Also, she’s wearing a penguin onsie!

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Which would you choose?

 

Me, Me, Me

You know what’s fun?  Looking at my Fitbit profile to see how much less I weigh now than I did a year ago.  You can see how spaced out the measurements get as my weight approached that peak.  I was very unhappy about the weight gain to say the least.  But you can also see from the slope after Ava was born how much of the peak was just ridiculous excess water weight.  My ankles were so swollen that I was wearing tights in May so that people couldn’t see my cankles.

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Being a working mother is ridiculously hard.  I can see why some mothers stop working a few months after having the baby and become SAHMs.  I know a lot of mothers suffer from guilt at leaving their baby, but our nanny is too amazing for that to be a problem.  I genuinely believe that Ava is better off with V. all day than she would be with me.  I haven’t gotten angry at Ava, but I worry that I would be if I was with her all day every day.  In the first few months with Ava, I was scared to be with her all weekend and have to listen to her cry for hours.  Now she hardly ever cries, and when she does I know how to fix it, and we have great structured weekends that I look forward to.  Who wouldn’t be excited to see this girl puff out her cheeks and blow air?

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The hardest part of working while raising an infant is the sleep deprivation.  I thought that I was doing fine because I wasn’t yawning all the time and I was staying awake.  But sleep deprivation is like insanity, you don’t realize how bad it is when you’re deep in it.  I relate to 90% of the symptoms of sleep deprivation in this article (mostly everything except the overproduction of urine).  My work became riddled with errors.  It used to be that I could print out something I wrote and find all the errors.  With sleep deprivation, I couldn’t find the errors!

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I’m very lucky to have Jon because he started taking over feeding Ava in the morning so I could get an extra hour of sleep.  Ava’s sleep is improving in the long run, but it’s a lot of mediocre nights with a few great nights thrown in as opposed to a few months ago when I would sometimes wake up wondering if I was dying.  I want to blame the poor sleep on teething, but can a baby be teething for an entire month?

 

Toes

Ava has figured out how to get her foot in her mouth.  She sucks on her big toe like it’s a nipple.  Sadly no milk has come out yet, but she’s still trying.

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Last Saturday the family went to a Halloween party on our street.  The existence of things like Halloween parties, by the way, is exactly why we moved to this block.  I know the names of more people on this street after three weeks than I knew on our previous street after 4.5 years.

Ava wasn’t so sure about her bat costume.

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The hat kept slipping down over her eyes.  She was remarkably tolerant considering how much she disliked the costume.  Especially when you consider that she’s been chewing on her hand so much to alleviate teething pain that she had a raw spot on her cheek.

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It didn’t really matter who was holding her; she was just not into the costume.  I was dressed as Khloe Kardashian and a Wookie because people say that Khloe Kardashian looks like Chewbacca.  No one got the joke, but I was understandably overshadowed by Ava.

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Today we had a Halloween party at work and Ava’s nanny brought her in for the party.  Ava was a lot happier without the hat.  She also got to hang out in my office.  I really hope that I can be a role model and she can get excited about visiting me in my office at work.  I think she’s destined for an office too; she looks too comfortable in that chair to not work in an office.

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You know that trope where people complain that women’s costumes for Halloween are always slutty?  How the costumes can make anything slutty?  My favorite is the slutty watermelon.  Well I give you a slutty bat.

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